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First, Commonwealth Rent Assistance, which provides financial support to low-income renters, is indexed to the consumer price index and so it fell behind private market rents which rose roughly in line with wages.
Secondly, rents for cheaper dwellings have grown slightly faster than rents for more expensive dwellings.
Finally, the stock of social housing — currently around 400,000 dwellings — has barely grown in 20 years, while the population has increased by 33 per cent.
As a result, many low-income earners who would once have been in social housing are now in the private rental market.
What can be done about it?
Increasing the social housing stock would improve affordability for low-income earners.
But the public subsidies required to make a real difference would be very large — roughly $12 billion a year — to return the affordable housing stock to its historical share of all housing.